William Hill Pulls Sportsbook from German Market, Poker Room Unaffected

William Hill has chosen to withdraw its sports betting product from the Germany market, according to a report on Sportsbook Review. It will continue to accept action on its casino and poker products, and German customers can process withdrawals unhindered.

The move comes after the recent ratification of Germany’s new Online Gambling Act, which permits a restricted number of sportsbooks but no licenses for online poker.

Paddy Power is thought to be the only other site to have reacted since the new Gambling Act came into effect on July 1, blocking all action from players in Germany.

Both companies are applying for licenses in Nevada—William Hill’s application has been approved and Paddy Power has cleared suitability hearings—which may explain their withdrawals.

Both are also expected to be on the applicant list in Schleswig-Holstein, the “rogue” German state with its own liberal online gaming regulation. However, the application process is in jeopardy given the opposition of the newly elected coalition government.

As expected, no major poker rooms have withdrawn from the market, meaning the status quo of gray-market online poker in Germany remains. The new German Act did not receive EU approval, and is not in compliance with EU law. The commission recently announced it would pursue legal action against states in breach of its laws. For these reasons and others, it was criticized heavily in a recent report by the German Monopolies Commission, which recommended the treaty be either scrapped or amended to comply with European law.